Welcome to my world. I'm an actor who hates waiting for shit to happen... So I create... One of the projects I'm most proud of is my Streamy award winning series I co-created and starred in called The Bannen Wayfor Sony's Crackle.com.
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Neal Bannen wants to get out of the criminal lifestyle forever… but he owes $150,000 to the notorious prison gangster Sonny Carr. After failing to triple his money and losing all his money in a poker game, Bannen’s forced to do one more job.
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Past Events 2011
Dexter episode airs on Showtime
New series Once Upon by YouTube genius Myster Guitar Man launches. New episode every Tuesday.
Since its inception in the year, 2009, the crowdfunding organization known as Kickstarter has claimed to have raised over one billion dollars in donations to fund more than one hundred thirty-five thousand projects of artistic ventures of various sizes. There have been many success stories and many recent ones include the Veronica Mars motion picture. The latest success story involves an ambitious and very talented couple whose list of credits in the entertainment industry is stunningly impressive. Heather and Jeffery Wang have worked on a number of impressive projects which include "Justified," "Breaking Bad," "Lone Survivor" and "A Million Way to Die in the West."
The talented duo started a Kickstarter campaign in order to direct and produce a short horror film entitled, "Lifeline." The short film is based on a story written by Jeffery Wang of which he has also just completed directing on June 1st. I was given details of the project by actor, producer, writer and director, Mark Gantt who is one of the leads in the short. This interview took place after the short film's principal photography wrapped and the two were able to catch their breath after a whirlwind filming schedule.
Oscar: I have read the information on your Kickstarter campaign pitch and have viewed your video. I am impressed! Your influences are well stated in your campaign. Will you be trying to create a similar visual quality that many of the horror film of the 80's had?
DREAD CENTRAL: Exlusive Photos from the set of THE NIGHT VISITOR 2: HEATHER'S STORY
We told you recently that production has kicked off on The Night Visitor 2: Heather's Story, the sequel to The Night Visitor; and today we have a gallery's worth of exclusive stills and behind-the-scenes images from the shoot to share.
The film is directed by Brianne Davis (The Night Visitor, "True Blood," Prom Night) and produced by Blanc/Biehn Productions and Lony Ruhmann in association with Give & Take Productions. Caitlin Carmichael, Mark Gantt, Chip Coffey, and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn star.
The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story was written by Kevin and Bradley Marcus and Mark Gantt. Executive producers include Lony Ruhmann, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Michael Biehn, and Brianne Davis. The film is produced by Mark Gantt and Dylan Matlock.
Thanks to Oscar Benjamin and Mike Skillsky for the photos.
Synopsis: The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story is a sci-fi thriller that runs parallel to the original The Night Visitor, telling the story of Heather (Carmichael), a special young girl who must protect her family and the planet from the same other-earthly being. The sequel delves deeper into the mysteries that plagued the Stevens family and their son, Ricky, with the help of psychic and medium Daniel (Coffey).
EXAMINER: Brianne Davis, Mark Gantt and Gary Cairns II unleash "The Night Visitor"
One of the many pleasures of attending a film festival like the recent Another Hole in the Hole Film Festival is discovering films in a theater setting that you may otherwise not discover on your own. This Examiner.com columnist had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Brianne Davis, Mark Gantt and Gary Cairns who are three of the principal actors and producers of the independent horror and science fiction film known as The Night Visitor.
The Night Visitor chronicles the tell of an estranged couple as played by Brianne Davis and Gary Cairns who solicit the help of a spiritualist to help them resolve their marital issues. The spiritualist suggests that they begin to film themselves in order to help them rediscover their love. In the process, the couple discover that their son is in communication with an unseen entity whose intentions are unknown. The Night Visitor also marks the directorial debut of actress and now director, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn.
The interview began with an explanation of the title and how it relates to the story of The Night Visitor. Co-executive producer, Mark Gantt begins, "Lony Ruhmann who is our executive producer came up with the story idea along with Night Visitor 2 and 3 and 4. Lony is very interested in the story of these kids being able to communicate with beings from another planet and for him this is very real-it is something he believes in. This is something that happens at night to these children and he is trying to explore that in these four movies." Gantt continues, "what happens to these children that are overtly sensitive as they communicate with these beings."
The Night Visitor was very well received at the film festival and once again demonstrates how successful a Kickstarter funding campaign can truly be. Once again, Mark Gantt has thoughts on the subject. Mark speaks, "it is a great way to build a grass roots audience and a fan base that sometimes just comes to help. What is exciting is that within a year there will be a bill passed by Congress that allows us to basically do Kickstarter witheveryone getting a piece of the pie. Instead of donating money, a person can be an actual investor in the movie." Excitement continues to build in Mark's voice. Gantt further explains, "independent filmmakers can go to the public and explain their budget and state to those that are putting up money that they will all be owners in the film. Hollywood does not want it because it is going to give us the power!"
The star of the film is Brianne Davis who impressed this reporter and so many with her head turning performance in Among Friends. She has the task of shouldering a fair amount of screen time in The Night Visitor. Her performance in The Night Visitor cements her in this columnist's head as being more than a strikingly beautiful woman. She creates a character in Jen who is on the edge of turmoil and the subtle performance delivered by Brianne is truly one of the highlights of the film. Davis addresses this and replies, "There is so much turmoil going inside my character of Jen that I have to go through so many things. Being concerned for my child, holding my marriage together and trying to decide if we stay or go. I hope I did a great job. As an actress I am my own worst critic, but I feel really lucky to have done it and I am really excited to be directing the second one!"
The other major starring role in the film belongs to that of Gary Cairns II. The actor was given very little prep time which reflected the hectic and breakneck pacing of the filming which caused the actor to explain, "you are as great as you with! It was actually pretty smooth for me. If it was a bunch of amateurs it would have been very painful and I wouldn't be here right now! The hardest thing was just figuring out what we going to do with the cameras. One of the cameras is a character in itself!" Brianne Davis further adds, "working with that camera was a new experience for the both of us, especially Gary who had to act with the camera many times."
Producer, Mark Gantt has had the good fortune of being part of low and rather extravagantly budgeted films throughout his career as an actor and producer. His observations on the dynamics and chemistry of a film crew is fascinating and very illuminating. Gantt explains, "you are like a family-immediately! You don't know anybody else! You automatically bond. I was doing one of Jennifer's(Blanc-Biehn) films-Hidden in the Woods and one of the actors hated the fact that as he has gotten bigger, they put him up in a separate hotel from the cast and crew. This actor basically wanted to be with everybody so then we he went out to eat he could bond with the other actors, the DP and the AC. When we are on set, we are looking at each other and we are in a vibe and we are a machine!" Mark continues, " on The Night Visitor, we all got along immediately and had a great time. It was such a small crew and nobody sat around waiting for something to happen. Gary would move a light there and everybody was doing their jobs and other jobs also!"
The Night Visitor is the first of a proposed series of films about possible visitations and abductions by aliens from another world. It was announced that actress, Brianne Davis is going to take over directorial duties for the second film. Davis discusses the exciting news. Brianne begins, "I am very excited! When Jen(Blanc-Biehn), Mark and I were talking about the second one I said I could do this and I have been working in movies for a long time. I got to watch Jen directing the kid and I really loved it. I know the story, I know everybody on the set and I know how it works and I can direct it!" Davis continues, "you learn from every director that you work with! You get to a certain point where you know how to tell a story."
There appeared to be an interesting theme throughout the interview and that was of opportunity and individuals daring to run with opportunities! The Night Visitor allowed actress Jennifer Blanc-Biehn to continue to grow not only as an actress but now as a director. The sequel will now be Brianne Davis' directorial debut. Perhaps the individual running with the ball the furthest is actor, photographer and producer, Mark Gantt. Gantt is the epitome of the classic character actor that can always be counted on to deliver a solid performance that many times will elevate the film that he has been cast in. Mark Gantt is more than a handsome face as he explains his progression to being a reliable producer. Gantt speaks, "as an actor waiting for my career to happen that was not happening basically I started creating my own projects. I found that I could put people together-how do I get that DP with that director and how do I get this together. I feel like I am good at it and it definitely comes easy for me. I have worked behind the camera in every department-from being an actor, a prop guy, a grip, electrician, photographer, assistant director and production assistant. It really gives me the advantage over another producer because I know the language and I could do everybody's job!" Mark concludes, "I really want to continue to do this because I love doing this. I love working with talented people. Directors or actors-I love putting people together!"
Films like The Night Visitor represent a growing decentralization of the film-making process away from familiar mega studio brands such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures. Although movies released by these aforementioned studios will continue to dominate the film landscape for the conceivable future, there can be no argument that the independent film funded from diverse sources will continue to capture the imagination of the movie loving public. Passionate and intellectual film creators such as Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Brianne Davis and Mark Gantt continue to demonstrate that imagination, enthusiasm and sheer confidence will trump wanton and sometimes reckless expenditure of money. Brianne Davis and Mark Gantt will continue to realize their visions under their production company called, Give & Take Productions. Their next film to be directed by Mark Gantt is called, A Place Apart which was written by J.L. Blakely and will star Brianne Davis. This columnist looks forward to discovering the further visions to be found in The Night Visitor and am quite confident many more will also be of the same mind set as further films are released.
EXCLUSIVE: Sales agent takes worldwide rights on Lemon Tree Passage and 2nd Reign of Night.
Sales agent Odin’s Eye Entertainment (OEE) has acquired worldwide sales rights to two supernatural thrillers made on different sides of the planet: Lemon Tree Passage from Australia, and 2nd Reign of Night from Spain.
Writer/director Antoni Sole’s directorial debut was filmed in Barcelona in English. Sole will get a producing credit too alongside Loris Curci, who has recently also been busy on the US thriller Hidden In The Woods.
2nd Reign of Night tells of an eminent anthropologist, played by Mark Gantt (Hidden In The Woods, The Night Visitor) who, by translating an ancient text, unwittingly resurrects an Egyptian god that plunges the world into eternal darkness. The film is still in post-production and OEE will be screening a promo at EFM.
The writer/director of Lemon Tree Passage is David Campbell and the producer is Jeremy Ervine. The pair sold the advertising agency they jointly owned in order to go into film production.
The privately-financed thriller is inspired by a media report about a stretch of road that locals say is haunted by the ghost of a motorcyclist who died in an accident. In the script a group of teenagers come to deeply regret their decision to test if the ghost exists.
OEE head Michael Favelle sold Middle East & North African rights to Shooting Stars on the eve of EFM and is due to screen the film for the first time there on Feb 8.
“I’ve noticed there seems to be a rise in entrepreneurial and younger Australian filmmakers setting out to make internationally commercial films that usually would not sit within conventional government funding scenarios,” Favelle told Screendaily.
“These tend to be films that perform better overseas than they do at home. That said, we do expect Lemon Tree Passage to perform at a theatrical level here in Australia.”
THE NIGHT VISITOR is the directorial debut from actress Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and stars Brianne Davis, Gary Cairns, Jennifer Blanc, Mark Gantt, Vedette Lim, and Tara Buck with a special appearance by Michael Biehn.
The movie follows a young suburban couple who are having problems with their marriage so they hire this new age spiritualist to help with their troubles. She tells them to video their lives 24/7 to help reunite the family. As they begin to do this they discover that their son is having strange conversations with an unseen entity, calling itself The Night Visitor.
As the movie plays along and we watch the couple film everything that’s going on, we see hints of strange things happening all around them. The movie has a solid story that stays confined inside this home as we watch what happens to this family, thanks to their new camera!
This strange occurrence begins with their son and we slowly watch them get sucked into what ever is going on here. We watch the couple begin to successfully work on their relationship while things around them begins to get weird, including them. These strange events that began with their son slowly spreads throughout the home and to whoever is in there! Each character ends up getting a dose of what ever it is that’s happening here and it all seems to be coming from the kid’s laptop. At first I thought there might be aliens messing around with the family and then maybe it’s more paranormal or possibly a mixture of both with a little bit of Government corruption add to the mix, I’m not sure!
The Night Visitor doesn’t rely on any big FX or over-the-top CGI, instead it uses old school tricks of the trade and gimmicks like flickering lights that pay off so well on screen. The camera captures some nice shots of shadows and some eerie, up close “face in the camera” scenes that reminded me of some of today’s biggest paranormal thrillers and the whole “found footage” thing. Since the camera plays sort of a character all its own and actually tells the story, we get this corrupted video style that shows up from time to time besides all the other stuff I just shared, oh and then there’s this laptop that plays a “little” part. All of these really helped to tell the story and what’s going on here, even though we’re left kind of scratching our heads at the end, or at least I was. I will say this, even though questions aren’t answered, we get something pretty cool at the end that fans will enjoy, a nice short cameo from Michael Biehn and a hint at some sort of Government cover up, maybe? It’s all in the eyes!
Bottom line is, the fact that The Night Visitor is Jennifer Blanc-Biehn’s first time behind the camera, she totally hits it out of the park! The movie does have its flaws though, the main two being that the movie is way too short clocking in at just 73 minutes and since it’s a slow burn style of movie, there’s no huge payoff at the end. The story is good and all of the acting is great, along with the character development. Without ruining the movie, there is a little tease or hint at the end that simply adds to the mystery behind The Night Visitor. Maybe that’s what they were going for here and if that’s the case then it’s a nice setup for whatever is to come! The Night Visitor is like Paranormal Activity meets Goosebumps!
After successfully working together producing THE NIGHT VISITOR, my lovely fiance, Brianne Davis and I have started our own production company. We're in pre-production on the sequel to THE NIGHT VISITOR, developing SKIPPING TIME and recently optioned drama/thriller script A PLACE APART.
Shooting Top-Of-Show Guest-star on TNT's MAJOR CRIMES
Shooting begins on LIFELINE opposite Kathleen Gati(General Hospital)
Begin filming THE NIGHT VISITOR 2: HEATHER'S STORY starring Mark Gantt, Jennifer Blanc, Caitlin Carmichael, Brianne Davis, Gary Cairns, Hudson Pischer and Chip Coffey. The film will be directed by Brianne Davis.
THE NIGHT VISITOR screens as part of the ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FESTIVAL in San Francisco.
Shooting Los Angeles portion of THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT
Mark begins shooting lead role in THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT, written and directed by Antoni Sole. Shooting in Barcelona, Spain.
Attending AMONG FRIENDS screening at Universal City
Shannen Doherty honored for Best Individual Performance from the 2012 Webby Awards in the SUITE 7 episode "Company" that Mark directed. Episode was written by Yuri Baranovsky and stars Shannen and Wilson Cleveland.